FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 100 with seven additional deaths reported Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
The governor also reported 87 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to nearly 2,050 since the outbreak began. It was lower than the daily count of cases from recent days, but the governor stressed that the rising death toll shows the importance of following social distancing guidelines and avoiding gatherings to contain the virus’s spread.
“Going over 100 deaths today, I hope, just reaffirms our commitment to doing what we need to,” the governor said at his daily briefing.
The state’s death toll rose to 104 with the seven newest deaths.
Beshear said too much attention has been paid to a church near Louisville that defied his orders against mass gatherings to hold an Easter Sunday service. Last week, the governor said state police would issue self-quarantine orders to people who attended in-person church services on Sunday.
“Today I’m not going to give any more oxygen to those that aren’t doing it right, I’m going to celebrate all those that are,” Beshear said, adding that many churches opted for drive-in services, which were allowed.
The governor’s office said only seven churches statewide held in-person services, including the Maryville Baptist Church in Hillview. The church’s pastor, Jack Roberts, told the Courier Journal on Monday that he would disobey the state’s order to self-quarantine after police placed quarantine flyers on cars in the parking lot on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Beshear said nearly 100 people were tested Monday during the first day of drive-thru testing in Frankfort as part of an initiative with Kroger. Beshear said the testing went well and that the goal is to ramp up to 200-plus tests in each of the coming days.
The drive-thru testing effort is expected to spread to other locations in Kentucky, with an overall goal of doing 20,000 tests in the next five weeks. A second testing site is opening this week in Kenton County.
Beshear said 250 beds are onsite at a field hospital being set up at the state fairgrounds in Kentucky.
Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.